Growing potatoes and cropping on the machair

from the audio walk Machair | Linaclate, Benbecula, Uist

5 Stations
38:31 min Audio
3.25 km directions_walk favorite 1
Growing potatoes and cropping on the machair

Turning left, we follow the track inland through the machair. In this final section, we learn about planting and harvesting crops on the machair. Crofters Alasdair MacAchen and Matthew Topsfield talk us through the system of cropping, and the types of grain commonly grown on the machair. We then hear from the next generation of crofters, brothers Freddie (aged 7) and Seoras (aged 4) MacDonald, who provide a running commentary on their dad and grandpapa’s harvesting crops on the machair. Music featured in this section includes the children’s harvesting song Orra Bhonnagan a Ghaoil (Dear Orra Bonnagan) sung by Nan MacKinnon, recorded in 1958. Kenneth MacIver returns with another set of puirt à beul (mouth-music) dance tunes, and we finish with Angus Fletcher singing Am Buntàta ’s an Sgadan (The Potato and Herring) recorded in 1971.

Photos: Planting crops and harvesting on the machair, Sorcha Monk, 2022.

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